EFFORTS BY US Secretary of State John Kerry to cobble together a lasting cease-fire to the Israel-Hamas war have triggered a mini-firestorm of criticism from Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, and numerous analysts in the US.

The core of the complaint is that Kerry undermined, in both form and substance, an Egyptian cease-fire initiative in favor of a plan more favorable to Hamas, which had been fashioned by its allies Turkey and Qatar. Diplomatic historians will have a field day parsing the episode. Whatever their conclusions, it highlights the larger rift over a host of regional issues between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Turkey and Qatar, on the other. Moreover, it raises serious questions about the ability of America to shape events in the region.


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